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Raul Neto's introduction to the NBA this season has included a few words of advice from teammate Gordon Hayward.
Stay ready, was the message coming from Hayward. You never know what the league will bring. Sometimes things and fortunes change rather quickly.
All of which came into fruition for the rookie point guard. Neto recorded a DNP-CD in Sunday night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as coach Quin Snyder decided to go with the triple-wing alignment of Hayward, Alec Burks and Rodney Hood. On Monday night, Neto was back into the starting lineup, even if he did play limited minutes. And by Wednesday, he was back on the bench, with Burks back with the starters.
Three nights, three games, and all different roles for Neto, who hails from Brazil. It's enough to make a rookie dizzy, if he doesn't have his head on straight.
"It's hard because maybe you play 30 minutes one night, and maybe you don't play a lot the next night," Neto said. "I have to be ready to play no matter what. If I play one minute, I have to play with energy and do everything to help my team. I'm ready to play how many minutes my team needs me to play."
Neto's readiness was evident during Wednesday night's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, as he came off the bench and played some of his most effective minutes of the season. He played 10 minutes and scored eight points on 3-for-3 shooting. He had two assists, made both of his 3-point attempts and the Jazz outscored New Orleans while he was on the floor.
It served as quite the performance even under limited playing time for Neto, simply because it seemed his spot in Snyder's rotation was thought to be in jeopardy. Snyder has always preached matchups, however. And he has said in the past some players roles can fluctuate on a given night.
So if anything, Neto proved he can produce under different circumstance. And for him that may bode well in the future when Snyder is looking for instant energy.
The giving spirit
The Jazz had an abbreviated practice on Thursday morning, doing some film work and light shooting. Then in the afternoon, they went as a team on multiple visits to local children's hospitals, Primary Children's and Shriners Hospital.
For Jazz players, Thursday afternoon served as a perfect time to give back, both in time and in presence.
"Anytime we can bring a smile to someone's face, that's great," center Jeff Withey said. "Kids are hurting, families are hurting, so if seeing a Jazz player can give some positivity, that's awesome. It definitely brings a smile to our face."
Joe Ingles is back with the team, one day after having oral surgery. He is still listed as day-to-day. … Jazz guard Rodney Hood practiced on Thursday, after suffering a knee contusion. He still had a wrap on his right knee.